A prominent Muslim group called for President Trump to withdraw an appeals court pick they deemed “racist” for defending Israel as a Jewish state in a law review article years ago.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also claimed Steven Menashi, Mr. Trump’s pick for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has referenced an “Islamophobic online myth” in the past about American soldiers in the Philippines executing Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood as a way of spreading terror among the Muslim guerrillas.
Mr. Menashi also drew fire from MSNBC for his 65-page article in 2010 for the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. He argued ethnonationalism is an accepted part of liberal democracies, defending Israel as “a Jewish state.”
“Identification with a particular national group is a common-place,” Mr. Menashi wrote.
Liberal advocates said the article is troubling for a nominee at a time when white supremacy is threatening America.
“American democracy is founded on the principle that our rich national diversity is to be celebrated and that we as a people are united by our shared experiences and principles, not by our race or ethnicity,” wrote Robert McCaw, director of government affairs with CAIR.
The group called for the president to withdraw Mr. Menashi’s nomination.
CAIR’s opposition came after MSNBC’s host Rachel Maddow aired a 13-minute segment Thursday, attacking Mr. Menashi’s article saying he argued a country won’t be successful if it’s filled with different people.
Conservative groups jumped to Mr. Menashi’s defense, saying Ms. Maddow cherry-picked and distorted the article.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judiciary Crisis Network which supports the president’s judicial nominees, said the MSNBC host “should be ashamed of herself for the anti-Semitic rant she just launched.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition called Ms. Maddow “a disgrace.”
Mr. Menashi has worked in private practice and currently serves as a special assistant to Mr. Trump. He also teaches administrative law at George Mason University.